Friday, August 7, 2009

REVIEW: Necropolis

Horowitz, A.  (2009).  Necropolis.  New York:  Scholastic Press.


At thirteen, Scarlett was saved from being hit by a van by a mysterious stranger who disappeared.  Two years later, she walks through a strange door in a historic London church and finds herself in another country, captured by deranged monks.

The story doesn't follow Scarlett alone, but also picks up with Matt, Pedro and the twins, Scott and Jamie, who are still recovering from their last encounter with the Old Ones.  Once they learn of Scarlett's existence, the boys must race to reach her, despite many complicating factors (like a zombie attack) before the Old Ones capture her.  The teenage boys need to reunite the five reincarnated gatekeepers to battle the Old Ones.

While there is a lot of action and good imagery throughout the text, Horowitz's writing isn't always of the highest quality.  What is more, parents who are strict about how religion is presented may want to pre-read the book before handing it off to their children.

It is worth noting, that if a reader were of the lazy slacker sort,  ahem, and hadn't actually read the three previous books in the series, the prologue does a good job of setting up the general conflicts of the story, allowing said slackers to ease into the Gatekeeper series without being utterly confused.  Also worth noting--this isn't the conclusion of the series yet.

Activities to Do with the Book:

A teacher could guide students to research the history and religions of the countries and cultures the gatekeepers are exposed to, including the Incas, Ukraine, China, and the Blitz during World War II, etc.. 

In the end, though, this is probably a book and series best used as a personal recommendation for enjoyment.

Favorite Quotes:

"The girl didn't look before crossing the road.
That was what the driver said later.  She didn't look left or right.  She'd seen a friend on the opposite sidewalk, and she simply walked across to join him, not noticing that the lights had turned green, forgetting that this was always a busy intersection and that this was four o'clock in the afternoon when people were trying to get their work finished, hurrying on their way home.  The girl just set off without thinking.  She didn't so much as glimpse the white van heading toward her at fifty miles an hour.
But that was typical of Scarlett Adams" (p. 1).

"She had been adopted, Paul and Vanessa Adams were unable to have children of their own, and they had found her in an orphanage in Jakarta.  Nobody knew how she had gotten there.  The identity of her birth mother was a mystery.  Scarlett tried not to think about her past, where she had come from, but she often wondered what would have happened if the couple who had come all the way from London had chosen the baby in cot seven or nine rather than the one in cot eight.  Might she have ended up planting rice somewhere in Indonesia or sewing Nike sneakers in some city sweatshop?  It was enough to make her shudder...the thought alone" (p. 3).

"There were four boys standing together, a short distance away.
The boys were searching for her.  If she listened carefully, she could actually hear them calling her name.  She tried to call back, but although there was no wind, not even a breeze, something snatched the words away" (p. 11).

"Two years later, Scarlett had turned fifteen-and she had become an orphan for a second time" (p. 12).

"There were twenty-five doorways built all around the world.  They were there for the Gatekeepers so that when the time came, they would be able to travel great distances in seconds.  Only the Gatekeepers can use them.  Nobody else" (p. 39).

"Richard is worried that Scar turning up is the start of a new phase.  The Old Ones have left us alone, but now they'll have been alerted.  If they were planning a move against us, this is the time when they'll make it.
But I don't care.  There are five of us, and that means that soon this whole thing will be over.  We'll get together and do whatever it takes to bring it all to an end.  After that, I'll go back to school.  I'll take my exams.  I'll have an ordinary life.
That's all I want.  I can hardly wait" (pp. 73-74).

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